England vs Pakistan 2016: Yasir Shah spins a web around the hosts
Leg-spinner razes through English middle-order as the match heats up
Despite their lower-order being blown away by Chris Woakes and company, Pakistan still ended the second day on top due to Yasir Shah’s amazing performance. The maverick wrist-spinner defied the conditions with his unerring accuracy to leave England adrift of 86 runs with three wickets intact in the first innings.
While all the limelight was on comeback man Mohammad Amir, Yasir flummoxed the hosts in a high impact spell between lunch and tea. However, Woakes continued his impressive bowling effort by remaining firm with the bat to set up a fantastic Test match.
Earlier, the visitors could not convert their overnight score of 282-6 into a massive one as the second new-ball retained its shine to come to the seamers’ rescue. The pugnacious Sarfaraz Ahmed tried his best to get going right from the outset by standing outside the crease and targeting loose deliveries.
But, he cut one straight into the hands of backward point to give Woakes his maiden five-wicket haul in the longest format. Meanwhile at the other end, captain Misbah‘s defense was finally breached by Stuart Broad and Pakistan’s essay came to a grinding halt.
Rahat Ali dispatched Alex Hales early on in the piece to provide the perfect start. Things could have been even better had Mohammad Hafeez not dropped a straight-forward chance at slip off Amir to reprieve Alastair Cook.
Cook was let off once again with Sarfaraz shelling a simple one this time which left Amir fuming. The seasoned campaigner capitalized on the opportunity in the company of star batsman as England began to cruise smoothly.
Misbah threw the ball to Yasir in the 20th over itself and the wily leg-spinner responded in emphatic fashion. After inducing an ill-judged stroke from Root, he preyed on the inexperience of James Vince and Gary Ballance by adjusting his speeds.
Fed up with the terrible catching, Amir took matters into his own hands and coerced the England skipper to drag a fuller delivery onto his stumps. The in-form Jonny Bairstow too succumbed to Yasir’s guile as the home side were in serious danger of unraveling quickly.
Following an useful partnership between Moeen Ali and Woakes, it looked as if the ship was steadying. But, the elegant left-hander was trapped in front while attempting a sweep shot off Yasir who consequently etched his name on the Lord’s honors board.
Brief Scores: England 253/7 (Cook 81, Yasir 5-64, Amir 1-65) trail Pakistan 339 (Misbah 114, Shafiq 73, Woakes 6-70) by 86 runs
Key Stats of the Day
- 1 – Number of bowlers who have taken six-wicket hauls in both Tests and ODIs for England. Woakes achieved this unique feat with his splendid show.
- 20 – Yasir became the first leg-spinner in 20 years to pick up five or more wickets at Lords. Compatriot and current bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed had claimed 5/57 in 1996.
- 49 – Years after which a leg-spinner took a five-for in the first innings at Lords. The 30-year old has followed in the footsteps of Indian legend Bhagwath Chandrasekhar.
- 81 – Wickets for Yasir from in his Test career so far which is the joint-highest for any bowler from 13 matches. If he takes one more in this game, then Charlie Turner’s record will be eclipsed.
- 9630 – Runs scored by Cook in Tests as an opening batsman. He went past the iconic Sunil Gavaskar to become the most prolific opener ever.